The Athletic’s Oregon beat writer Jason Quick, announced a few days ago through an article ( article behind paywall ) that the Portland Trail Blazers will decline to offer fourth-year big man Zach Collins a qualifying offer.
A qualifying offer is a placeholder that sits on the team’s books in free agency when they have a restricted free agent. This means that other teams are able to sign the player to offer sheets that the home team can then match if they choose.
Now, because the Blazers declined to extend the qualifying offer, Collins is an unrestricted free agent, and any team can make an offer for his services. The Blazers are still the only team that can go over the cap to re-sign him, because of the Bird Rights exception.
But, his agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports and Entertainment, said in Quick’s article that he was certain Collins would get a deal elsewhere.
If he recovers fully from his injury, his agent is probably right in terms of his value in the league.
Collins is still only 23. He may not have played a lot of basketball, but his skill set is undeniable, and he has also spent four years with an NBA team where he has played all the way up to the Western Conference Finals. Quick’s article goes on to state that Collins is likely to sign a multi-year deal with non-guarantees on the second and third years to protect the team in case of injury.
Team’s draft or sign guys who have had injury issues in the past, so it’s worth a small multi-year deal for a team to bring him back. There are very few guys who can shoot threes, blocks shots, and defend out to the perimeter. Collins has a recovery date of around December.